- NFL odds are back this week, and savvy bettors can profit from light numbers.
- NFL Week 3 features three huge favorites that public bettors no doubt love.
- The Los Angeles Chargers are a compelling side this week in Minnesota.
Week 3 of the 2023 NFL season brings a very different challenge for handicappers from the first two weeks.
During the first two weeks of the season, many of us knew little about the teams and had to assess tight, sharp NFL betting lines.
This weekend, we have a much better understanding of who is good and who is bad. In many instances, the lines clearly bear that out.
NFL Best Bets: Week 3 NFL Predictions
After I’ve handicapped the whole board each week, I will publish my three best plays from the wider canon of NFL odds.
I’ll provide a short explanation of why I like each bet, so you don’t have to go on faith alone. This week, strangely enough, I have selected three games with the exact same point spread.
If you prefer an audio version of this weekly article, you can always subscribe to The Lion’s Edge, my weekly handicapping podcast for BetMGM. More on that in a little bit.
One rule to keep in mind: Any time there’s an underdog in the range of +3 to +7, I’m almost always sprinkling a quarter-unit moneyline play on top of the spread play.
After two weeks, the official column picks are 3-3, with two successful outright underdog wins.
Bills at Commanders
The Commanders are 2-0, thanks to an 18-point comeback in Week 2 in Denver. Dan Snyder is gone. The vibes in the DMV are pretty immaculate. Washington fans are riding high.
Let’s not forget, though, that the Commanders are not actually that good of a football team. Their home-field advantage is also among the worst in the NFL.
Washington does have a top pass rush unit, according to PFF, but Josh Allen can neutralize some of that with his mobility.
More importantly, the thing that Buffalo does best is cover numbers against average and bad teams. I think that’s exactly what we’re going to get in this scenario, as Buffalo outruns Washington’s limited offense.
Best Bet: Bills -6.5
Chargers at Vikings
The joke on this game all week long has been twofold. On the total, everybody wants to bet the over.
“No defense in this game!” everyone reports. (The total is 54 and has been around that all week.)
When it comes to betting a side, both the Vikings and Chargers are known mostly for boneheaded mistakes and killer turnovers. Somehow, they both always seem to be in a close game.
“Can both teams lose this game?” everyone retorts. (The spread has been around a pick ‘em for most of the week.)
I think most fans and analysts are sleeping on a pretty obvious bet here. Both teams are 0-2, but it’s the Chargers that played a top-5 offense in the NFL in Week 1 when they lost a nailbiter to the Dolphins at home.
Then, in Week 2, they lost an overtime game to a top-five head coach in Mike Vrabel and Tennessee.
It’s pretty easy to make the case that Minnesota is the most winnable game on the Chargers’ schedule so far. The Los Angeles roster is quite a bit more talented than the Minnesota roster; the Chargers are often overvalued at home and undervalued on the road because of their lousy home-field advantage.
I think Justin Herbert outplays Kirk Cousins in this spot, and bettors look back at this spot as a relatively obvious play that everyone missed because they were too busy making jokes about Brandon Staley.
Best Bet: Chargers ML -105
Cowboys at Cardinals
The old saying in football is that defense travels, and boy does it look like the Dallas defense can play just about anywhere.
Arizona has had the good fortune to play two competitive games against forgettable teams through the first two weeks of the season; now, the Cardinals will face the game-wrecking force that is the Dallas Cowboys defense.
Based on what we’ve seen through the opening two weeks of the season, these teams are nowhere close to each other. So even though the Cowboys are laying a huge number here on the road, I’m not afraid to swallow the points. This is such a huge mismatch that I think the true odds lie somewhere beyond Dallas -14.
I actually like all three of the big favorites this week – San Francisco -10.5 and Kansas City -12.5 are the other two – but Dallas is my favorite bet of the trio, and so they get a spot here as an official play.
Best Bet: Cowboys -12.5
— Chase Kiddy (@chaseakiddy) September 21, 2023
A Case For the 49ers
This week, I invited BetMGM Tonight cohost Ryan Horvat onto The Lion’s Edge to discuss his favorite Week 3 bets and the overall state of the league. We touched on all three of these big favorites.
While Horvat agrees that the Cardinals are outmatched against Dallas, he prefers another team if he’s forced to lay a big number this weekend.
“If I’m laying a big number with any of these teams, it’s going to be San Francisco on a short week,” Horvat said. “But the problem is, you know, it’s a short week, and Brian Dayball and Mike Kafka are two really good offensive minds, right? What are they going to cook up?”
Ultimately, Horvat believes the matchup favors San Francisco in a big way because the 49ers’ weaknesses can’t be exploited by the Giants’ personnel.
“The Giants throw the ball to wide receivers at, I think, the 24th highest rate. They throw the ball to their tight ends, I believe, at a top-10 rate there. And their runningbacks. And now they have no Saquon.”
Horvat continued: “When you look at what San Francisco does, you can beat them deep, but they take away all the short stuff. The running back passes, the bubble screens, the tight end screens… the one area you could attack them is with the wide receivers. They’re 22nd against wide receivers, defending the wide receiver position. But what Giants’ wide receivers scare you? Darren Waller leads the team this season with nine receptions. Darius Slayton, Paris Campbell, Isaiah Hodgins – these guys just don’t do it.”
NFL Parlay For Week 3
One NFL parlay to consider for Week 3 is:
- 49ers -10.5
- Cowboys -12.5
- Chiefs -12.5
That’s a three-team parlay that pays out at +595.
It seems crazy (and maybe even super square) to lay all these points, but I just think all three of these opponents are a total mess right now. The gap between the top teams and the bottom teams is arguably not reflected with point spreads between 10 and 14.
If this was October or November, and we had a larger sample size of teams like the Bears and Cardinals losing a ton of games, wouldn’t these spreads likely be closer to the -15 to -17 range?
You can click here for more information on how to build parlay bets with NFL odds.
NFL Teaser For Week 3
One NFL teaser to consider for Week 3 is:
- Seahawks -0.5
- Bills -0.5
- Dolphins -0.5
Because every team is currently -6.5 at BetMGM, this is essentially a three-team moneyline parlay for +160. However, because an actual parlay with these teams’ respective moneyline prices comes out to +147, the teaser approach creates 13 cents of extra value.
One other NFL teaser to consider for Week 3:
- Jaguars -2.5
- Chargers +7
- Ravens -2.5
This is a more stand Wong teaser that should give some extra confidence to anyone who’s a little worried about betting on the Chargers this week. It’s also available for +160.
You can click here for more information on how to bet teasers in online sports betting.
NFL Survivor Pick For Week 3
I’m participating in a high-stakes Survivor game in Las Vegas this year, so I’m adding an extra dimension to my picks column this year. I’ll be sharing my weekly Survivor pick here, in spite of whatever strategic disadvantage it might bring.
Call it an added incentive to come back and read my NFL picks column every week.
In Week 3, I’m playing the Seattle Seahawks, who are -275 moneyline home favorites against the Carolina Panthers.
Injuries should play a factor in what personnel are able to get on the field for both teams, and I’ll be closely watching the injury report through Friday before locking in my play. But no single malady is more significant than the status of Panthers’ quarterback Bryce Young. If he’s not able to go – and it’s trending toward exactly that – it’ll be Carolina backup Andy Dalton.
Some handicappers think Dalton is a short-term upgrade over a rookie like Young and are eyeing Carolina in spread betting markets. Personally, though, I’m not sure it really matters who’s tossing the ball around when the offense is so talentless, and the offensive identity of Carolina is so nonexistent.
Seattle looks like it could be a high-variance team this year, but I trust the Seahawks to get it done against a banged-up Carolina team that’s playing on short rest after Monday Night Football.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can click here for more information on how a football survivor pool works. Think about joining one next season!
Want More NFL Analysis?
If you like this sort of content, I’d recommend checking out my podcast, The Lion’s Edge, which I host on behalf of our content team here at BetMGM.
Every week, I highlight odds and bets that I think are interesting or ripe for advantage bettors, like me. I also bring on expert guests from both inside and outside of the sportsbook, so you can learn a little bit more about key topics in online sports betting.
Check it out and subscribe on the podcast player of your choice. You can also listen to some of the most recent episodes in the podcast player below.
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